FedEx and Parachute, a national charity dedicated to preventing injury and saving lives, are reminding parents and drivers to ensure kids can walk safely to and from school on our neighbourhood streets. That means drivers need to slow down in residential areas and parents need to show their children safe pedestrian practices.
Child pedestrian incidents are a leading cause of death for Canadian children under age 14. More than 30 children are killed and 2,400 are seriously injured in a typical year. Most incidents happen between 3 and 6 p.m., when drivers are coming home from work, and children may be walking home from school or after-school activities.
“With children back on the streets in large numbers, we all play a role in helping to keep kids safe while they walk in their communities,” says Lisa Lisson, president of FedEx Express Canada. “As the world’s largest express transportation company, FedEx Express puts safety above all, both in the workplace and in the communities in which we operate. Our drivers know the importance of being extra alert around school and pedestrian crossings, since these are the most important stops they make each day.”
The Parachute and FedEx Walk This Way program recommends the following tips for back-to-school safety:
- Teach your child to look and listen every time they cross the street.
- Children under the age of nine lack the developmental skills to cross the street on their own and should be accompanied by an adult or responsible older children.
- Cross at the corner. Be a good role model by walking with your children to school and demonstrating safe pedestrian practices.
- Drivers need to slow down. The higher the speed, the higher the risk of injury, or even death, to a child pedestrian. It is estimated that if you hit a child while travelling at 65 km/h, there is an 80 per cent chance that child will die. If you hit a child at 30 km/h, there is a 95 per cent chance that child will live.
- Put away distractions. Cellphones and other electronic devices should not be used when walking across streets or driving.
“With the school season set to begin, it’s a good time for parents to review with their children their route to school and discuss safe cellphone use,” says Pamela Fuselli of Parachute. “And parents are their children’s best role models. You can tell your kids what to do, but showing them by modelling safe behaviour is a very effective way to teach your children good safety habits.”
Another effective way to increase road safety where you live is by becoming a Pace Car community, also part of the Walk This Way program. Community members sign up to become “Pace Car drivers”, displaying a Pace Car emblem on their vehicle. They pledge to drive respectfully and within speed limits, becoming “mobile speed bumps” to slow traffic, especially in school zones and pedestrian-dense areas. For more information on child pedestrian safety, how to become a Pace Car Community, and the Walk This Way program visit www.parachutecanada.org.
Parachute is generously funded by FedEx Corp. to provide the Walk This Way pedestrian safety program year-round, providing education, resources and support for parents and community groups to increase the safety of their streets.